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I Bought A Rainforest

Join Charlie Hamilton James in this OU/BBC co-production, as he attempts to do his bit for the planet by buying a chunk of the Amazon. But his plans of protecting the space are quickly challenged as poisonous animals, fire, and a persistent squatter disrupt his plans.

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Charlie James, rainforest Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Charlie Hamilton James Wildlife photographer Charlie Hamilton James has just bought 100 acres of the Peruvian Amazon … without even looking at it first. He plans to spend a year photographing the animals on his land, before launching a campaign to protect more of the forest. But it turns out buying a piece of land over the phone isn’t such a great idea.

Over three programmes Charlie discovers that the problems facing the Amazon are now all on his doorstep - the drug trade, illegal gold mining, logging and poverty.  In order to make the right decisions about his land he needs to understand these problems. He sets out to learn more by living and working with the local people and begins to realise that the way to help preserve the rainforest is not to buy it up, but to engage with the people, and to work with them rather than against them.

Intercut with Charlie’s photographs of wildlife and the people he meets during his stay, this is a jungle adventure that takes in everything from poisonous snakes and hallucinogenic shamanic brews to flesh eating diseases. Along the way, Charlie's wife Philippa Forrester comes out to check on his progress. The question is, what will Charlie decide to do with his land.

Watch the series on BBC Two

See our full episode guide

I Bought a Rainforest was first shown on BBC Two from 1st June, 2014. To revisit the topics and issues covered in the series, you can explore the digital forest specifically produced for the TV series. For further transmission details, and to watch again where available, please visit

Episode guide

Episode 3

Unable to secure his land because of a squatter called Elias, Charlie had planned to evict him. But having now met his family and his disabled daughter, Heidi, Charlie is fast learning that if you want to protect the rainforest you need to include the local people.

See clips and read more about Episode 3

Episodes in this series

Episode Description
Episode 1 Charlie's dream was soon shattered when he got to the land he bought over the phone... Read more
Episode 2 Torn between his love of the forest and a growing awareness of how hard life can be, Charlie's loyalties are... Read more
Episode 3 Nine months on and the project has hit rock-bottom. Charlie has to decide what to do next. Read more




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